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The Metropolitan Museum of Art will return to India 15 sculptures that were bought from a loot merchant


Olga Derkach

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The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York announced on March 30 that it will donate 15 sculptures dating from the XNUMXst century BC to the Indian government. e. until the XNUMXth century AD Writes about it The Art News Paper.

All items in question were once sold by Subhash Kapoor, who was convicted of trading in looted antiquities. Previously, he directed Manhattan-based Art of the Past. Last November, a court in India sentenced Kapoor to ten years in prison for his role in stealing and smuggling artifacts out of the country.

The museum first contacted the Department of Homeland Security in 2015 about the items it purchased from Kapoor. Today's repatriation announcement follows new information provided to the museum by the Manhattan District Attorney's Office, which issued an arrest warrant for Kapoor in 2012 and filed paperwork for his extradition to face charges in the US in 2020.

On the subject: The Metropolitan Museum of Art got into a scandal and may lose part of the collection: many exhibits turned out to be stolen or of dubious origin

In October 2021, the Manhattan District Attorney's Office returned 235 antiquities seized during the Kapoor trafficking investigation to India.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art has come under increasing scrutiny in recent years as questions have been raised about the hundreds of antiquities it has acquired from Egypt, Turkey, India, Cambodia and elsewhere. Just last week, two items from the third century AD that were on display at the museum - a bronze statue stolen from an archaeological site in Bubo and a sculptured bust stolen from an archaeological site in Perge - were returned to the Turkish Museum. .

A report released in March showed that more than 1000 items in the museum's collection have a direct link to individuals who were either suspected or convicted of dealing in looted antiquities.

"The museum is committed to the responsible acquisition of archaeological art and applies strict standards of provenance to both new exhibits and works long in its collection," a museum spokesperson said in a statement. “We are actively studying the history of antiquities and highly value our long-standing relationship with the government of India, therefore we are pleased to resolve this issue.”

Online catalogs of 72 works in the Metropolitan Museum of Art's collection list Kapoor's lineage. In 2009, the museum hosted an exhibition dedicated to drawings donated to the museum by Kapoor.

Many institutions, including the National Gallery of Australia, have returned works purchased from Kapoor.

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